Contents of Issue#3 [Welcome] [Features] [In Focus] [Reviews] [Info]

This startle exposes the film's traffic in the uncanny, defined as a confusion or oscillation between two contradictory assumptions concerning the same object, as when our attention is captured by a life-like mannequin or a statue-like mime. By beginning with the alien's arm "hidden" in the shuttle's machinery (and onscreen), Alien creates a mise-en-scene that is subliminally threatening and--when the "machinery" moves--horrifically uncanny.

Return to page 3 of "Startle."